In every book, there are characters in the periphery—characters whose stories aren’t told because the main focus is elsewhere. But this doesn’t mean their lives aren’t worth reading about. While my main book, Only A Kiss, revolves around Katie and Chris, I want to dedicate a few blog posts to stories of these unnoticed characters, stories on the side. They don’t necessarily appear in the book, but they are present in the scenes that unfold.
This third story is about Megan, Katie’s BFF, who appears throughout the book. She’s strong, opinionated, and decides she wants to help out her fellow students with their love lives through an advice column (also because she’s bored and wants to do something exciting). This story takes place during the fourth story or chapter of Only A Kiss: Making My Way—when they are all in college.
Dear Jane: Advice for the Lovelorn
“Do you really think this is a good idea, Meg? I mean, you might get some haters if you don’t give the advice they want. Or worse, what if your advice doesn’t work for one reason or another and they blame you?” Katie scrunched up her forehead as her best friend Megan began composing a tweet asking if anyone needed love advice.
Megan paused, her fingers freezing over her keyboard. She looked out into their university quadrangle, glad they were underneath the shade of a giant fruit tree and not out in the battering heat. She wiped the sweat forming on her brow with the back of her hand and frowned. “You’re right. Do you think I need an alias?”
Katie grinned, her brown eyes dancing. “Now you’re talking! Let’s form another Twitter account!”
A few days later, much to Megan’s surprise, the inbox she’d created for her alias had quite a few emails. She’d named her column Dear Jane as a nod to Miss Austen who seemed to understand the deepest workings of the female heart.
The message that jumped out at her was this:
Help! I am in love with this boy who doesn’t seem to give me the time of day. He doesn’t have a girlfriend, but even if I signed up for all his classes—including theater which I don’t really care for—and I try my best to be his partner or group mate, he never seems to notice me!
Love, Ignored and Going Insane
Sitting on her bed in the golden glow of her bedroom lamp, Megan flexed her fingers and began to type.
Are you sure he’s interested in girls? Or maybe he’s just not interested in you. Turn your head away from the bright spotlight shining down on this boy and peek into the wings. Your leading man might just be waiting for you, hoping you would notice him too.
The next day, Megan’s phone began buzzing in her ear. Trying to unglue her eyelids from each other, she didn’t even bother checking who was so rudely waking her up at ungodly-o-clock in the morning.
“What?” she mumbled into the phone.
“Meg! Your blog has so many comments! And so many hits! Plus, Dear Jane is trending on Twitter! I cannot contain myself!” It was Katie, her musical voice high-pitched and giddy.
Megan’s eyes flew open. “Seriously?” She threw off her purple comforter and grabbed her laptop from her desk. As she read the comments on her Dear Jane blog, her heart soared. She knew this was going to be an awesome idea! “Great advice, Jane!” “I can’t wait to find out if I have a leading man in the wings of my theater of love, too!” “You’ll be getting a letter from me soon!” And so on. When she opened Jane’s inbox, IGI’s message sat there staring at her. She immediately clicked on it. This letter was the most important one. Even if the entire school thought her advice was solid, what mattered was how IGI felt.
Thank you, Jane. But I don’t know if I can let go. I’ve been loving him for so long. Maybe I should just try harder. Thanks anyway.
Megan read the words over and over, not believing what she was seeing. What was the matter with this girl? Couldn’t she see how pathetic she was?! In her frustration, she snatched up her phone, dialed Katie, and began ranting.
“Meg, not everyone will take your advice well, remember? But even if you don’t help IGI, you’ve definitely made other girls think about their situations too,” came her best friend’s soothing voice. “Do not give this up. Promise me.”
Suppressing a sigh of frustration, Megan agreed. What else could she do? She started this. She wanted to do something different, something fun. She had to deal with the annoying things that came with it too.
Then another message entered her inbox.
I really like this girl, but I’m afraid I might not be her type. You see, she’s so friendly and outgoing and I’m painfully shy. I can’t even get a word out when she’s around. I’m afraid I will be forever:
Silently Looking On
What is with these people? she thought. But then again, if they were go-getters, they wouldn’t be writing to an anonymous person who was dishing out free advice on a blog. Or would they? It seemed everyone needed help, especially when it came to relationships.
Dear Silently Looking On,
Are you sure you can handle her? I can imagine your relationship to be one where she hogs all the attention and you’ll just be sitting there, nodding and smiling on (well, better than just looking on, anyway). But then again, if that is where you’re comfortable, why not? I hear opposites attract. Write her a letter if you can’t do it in person. Tell her how you feel. Does she even know you exist? Maybe get to know her better first. Just don’t be creepy, okay? Girls hate creepy.
That afternoon, Katie bounded up to Megan after her philosophy class, waving her phone in the air. “More tweets! More comments! You are on fire, Meg!”
Megan couldn’t contain her wide smile. She didn’t expect her little project to take off like this, not this quickly anyway.
“This Dear Jane is something else.” Megan swiveled her head to see Chris, Katie’s other best friend, walking toward them, the smile on his handsome face making her wonder for the thousandth time how Katie could remain just friends with this guy. “I don’t know what she started, but I’ve actually got buddies planning on writing her.”
“Really?” Megan’s breath caught. She didn’t tell anyone else but Katie about her plan. Chris had no idea it was her.
He handed her a folded up piece of notebook paper. “From Alex.” He shrugged. “He asked me to hand it to you.”
“A note?” Katie gave it a suspicious glance.
Megan unfolded it.
Would you like to catch a movie with me sometime soon? I’ve always thought you were pretty awesome.
“What on earth?”
Katie leaned in and began reading it aloud. “Ooh, Meg!”
Chris chuckled. “I like his style. I always thought Alex was shy. I guess not.”
Megan’s heart began thundering in her ears together with the words: Write her a letter if you can’t do it in person. Tell her how you feel. Her words. What did she start? Better yet, what was she going to do?